Update: During the even acrimonious times in 2012 I used blogger Miss M. Turner as a caption on this blog post. My daughter just pointed it out to me. Check it out here. It is amazing that this multi year fight continues and the same narrative still applies.
With Mitt Romney’s campaign forced into conceding that the free rider fee in Romneycare and Obamcare is not a “tax,” now is the time to put health care opponents where they belong, on the fringe. By attacking the free rider penalty, they are defending an unfair system where everyone’s costs are driven higher because a few people don’t pay for themselves until it’s too late.
The GOP “tax” smear on the Affordable Care Act is more of the same: Republicans protecting the few who don’t need the help — at the expense of everyone.
Our health care system works best when it works for everyone and we all take responsibility. The Republican health care strategy? Protect the free-riding few who don’t need the help at the expense of everyone — just to score political points.
It costs taxpayers when people who can afford insurance refuse to get it and gamble on their invincibility instead. When they end up in the ER and need expensive care, we all have to eat the extra cost.
Obamacare offers the financial help struggling families need to afford coverage. It also has a fee to prevent people who can afford insurance from free-riding at the expense of responsible taxpayers.
Just like in Massachusetts under Romneycare, the free rider fee only affects the few who don’t want to do their share and end up making life harder for the 99% of Americans who do. It does not raise costs to taxpayers — it lowers them.
The Republican health care attack is more of the same: protecting just a few who don’t need the help at the expense of everyone.
ATTACKS AND RESPONSES About Obamacare
ATTACK: “The mandate hits middle-class families making $120,000 or less.”
- Republican politicians have some nerve talking about middle class taxes. In fact, if your family makes less than $100K, their tax plan would raise your taxes by $4,500 just so millionaires can get a $300,000 tax cut.
- Actually, most families making less than $120,000 are eligible for subsidies that make coverage affordable. And Obamacare is already saving middle-class families money, like with free preventive care and rebates from insurance companies that try to rip them off. Republicans want to take that all away.
- Most Americans are already paying a hidden tax of over $1,000 — less than or comparable to the free rider fee — because there are so many uninsured people whose costs are passed along to everyone else.
- The GOP response? Throw more people off their health insurance and drive our costs up higher.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Once the health care law is fully implemented, 99% of Americans will be exempt from the free rider fee because they will already have health insurance, including 30 million Americans who can’t afford coverage or get excluded today but will get covered thanks to Obamacare, or because they qualify for one of the exemptions.
- With Obamacare’s subsidies and exemptions for people who can’t afford coverage, insurance reforms like guaranteed protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and coverage expansions all in place — the stubborn remaining few who still refuse to get insured would only be about 1% of the total population.
- The free rider fee works to bring free riders into the health insurance system — people who can afford to get health coverage but refuse to do so, undermining how insurance is supposed to work for all of us and forcing families to pay a “hidden tax” of over $1,000 to pay for those who don’t get covered.
- People without health insurance pay among the highest health care prices in the country because they have to negotiate prices on their own with hospitals and doctors.
- In Massachusetts under Romneycare, research found that 40% of uninsured people had the money to buy health insurance but refused to. The rest qualified for financial support to get covered because they were too poor to buy insurance or pay all of their premiums.
- High uninsured rates can kill you even if you have coverage, by taking away resources from hospitals to invest in thing that improve health outcomes for everyone, like better doctors and medical equipment,.
- Obamacare has the largest health care tax cut in American history, worth an average of over $4,000 to 18 million Americans. And Obamacare will save middle-class families money on their premiums — up to $2,300 for a family of four.
- In contrast, Mitt Romney and Republicans in Congress who have all endorsed a tax plan to make you pay MORE taxes so the richest few can pay LESS.